MATCH PREVIEW: Bromley vs Chippenham Town | FA Trophy 4th Round | Saturday 13th January 2024

Published: at 9:45am

Simon Lawrence previews our upcoming away tie at Bromley

After progression in one cup competition already this week, the Bluebirds prepare for one of their toughest games in recent history when they take to the road for the Isuzu FA Trophy 4th Round destination? Hayes Lane and those Bromley Boys!

Last Time Out

Chippenham will come into this one fresh as a daisy and full of beans after dispatching a very good Westbury United side on Tuesday evening in the bitter cold. With a good mixture of First Team and Academy, the Bluebirds started bright with Craig Fasanmade opening the scoring for the Bluebirds seemingly setting them on their way.

However, the visitors had other ideas when a neat corner routine saw Jasper Jones head past Alex Avenell in the Chippenham net. Jones wheeled away in celebration against his parent club landing him on kit duty for the foreseeable future at the academy. Bevan Cross must have felt sorry for his fellow academy compadre because he (also on loan at Westbury from Chippenham) struck home the third goal of the evening and decided to celebrate as well, immediately joining Jasper on kit duty for all eternity. Westbury looked like they had killed the tie just after half time when skipper Charlie Walton danced past two Chippenham defenders before striking well past Avenell.

Changes began to ring as Horgan withdrew some of his First Team players from the fold however, it was the introduction of one that changed the game in Chippenham’s favour with the returning Caine Bradbury having a huge impact. Coming through the academy himself, with plenty of young talent on the pitch, Caine showed incredible maturity on the ball and pulled one back for the Bluebirds on 78 minutes. As Chippenham looked to take the tie to penalties, it was Bradbury once again that popped up with a late equaliser forcing his way between two defenders and striking home to momentarily warm the limbs of the by then freezing Chipppenham supporters in attendance.

Into the shootout and a perfect 5 out of 5 for the Bluebirds saw them through with Avenell saving Westbury’s 3rd penalty. Chippenham won the shootout 5-4 and the usual frenetic scenes after winning a shootout were replaced by a mad dash to the warm. Congratulations to Gary, Matt, Joe and the boys as we now head to the County Ground for the final of the Wiltshire Premier Shield to take on Swindon Supermarine. Details TBC. Commiserations to Westbury who played their part in an excellent cup tie but we wish you all the very best for your season and beyond.

The Opposition

So attention now turns to the Isuzu FA Trophy. Chippenham have already made history by reaching the 4th Round of the competition with another record falling to Gary Horgan after he eclipsed his own 3rd Round exploits of last season. If Chippenham are to go any further however, there is a fairly big obstacle in the way!

Bromley, the Ravens, are a National League side and have been since they won the Conference South in 2014/2015. These days, they are managed by Andy Woodman and play out of the iconic (If you’ve watched a certain Netflix film) Hayes Lane Stadium in Bromley which holds just over 5000 people. In keeping with Bromley appearances in TV and film, the Ravens have previous with this competition as well reaching the final in 2017/2018 narrowly losing on penalties to Brackley Town before taking on the role of Disney Villains when they spoiled the Wrexham documentary by winning the FA Trophy in 2021/2022 in front of a packed out Wembley Stadium (and a certain Mr McElhenny and Mr Reynolds just to name a few).

They used this success well and the following season, made finished 7th in the National League in doing so, making the playoffs where they defeated Woking in the Quarter Final before sadly losing to Chesterfield in the Semi-Final. This season, Bromley are absolutely flying and come into this cup tie SECOND in the National League with only last season’s beaten playoff finalists and seemingly nailed on winners for the National League this season, Chesterfield above them.

With the Ravens flying high in the National League and no doubt coming into this one as favourites, Chippenham Town will once again have to rely on that grit, determination and resilience that has been shown so many times in big games like this and whilst underdogs they might be, Horgs, Coupey and Sharps will no doubt be in the command centre, devising a strategy to allow for such a gap between the two sides.

Countdown to kick-off






Now as you can imagine, with Bromley being in the National League since 2014/2015 and Chippenham not making it to the National League South until 2017/18, there haven’t been a lot of games between these two clubs. In fact, in all the standard websites used by this virulent son of a gun, I couldn’t find a single meeting between the two sides. However, I have supported this club for a very long time and knew that I had seen us play Bromley before so off to the Football Club History Database I went and confirmed my correct assumption that the two sides had met before.

It was in the 2007/2008 season, Chippenham, then managed by Adie Mings, had a great season with the Bluebirds reaching the Play-Off Semi Final against Halesowen where famously, the Bluebirds travelled to the Yeltz in the pouring rain and took a 3-1 lead only to be told to come back a few days later by the referee and subsequently lost the game 2-1. However, it was a good season in the cups as well making it to the 4QR of the FA Cup where we were defeated by Horsham and in the 3QR of the FA Trophy, Chippenham just came unstuck in their attempt to make it to the 1st Round Proper going down by a scoreline of 2-1 against… Bromley FC! U

nfortunately, we cannot find any details online about the game itself however, it does give Bromley a 100% win percentage against the Bluebirds with a GPG of 2 to Chippenham’s 0% Win Percentage and a GPG of 1. As mentioned this is the best ever performance already in the FA Trophy (4th Round) and our opponents the Ravens are twice finalists in this competition and winners as recently as 2022!

Familiar Faces

After a big old search through the archives we only found ONE players that has worn the shirt of both sides and it’s quite a nice little link. In 2014, Bromley signed a young lad by the name of Harry Grant making 21 appearances for the Ravens, in 2015, Harry made 30 appearances for the Bluebirds in a season that saw him notch 4 goals in the Blue and White of Chippenham. These days Harry most recently won the FA Vase with Ascot and has played against us already this season for Basingstoke in the FA Trophy. Surname look familiar? It should do, Harry is the older brother of Chippenham fan favourite, Freddie Grant!

One to Watch

This again could be a roll call. Bromley have quality running through their ranks with former Yeovil stopper Grant Smith between the sticks, Ryan Jones on loan from Bristol Rovers who Bluebirds fans will recognise from his time at Hungerford and serial goalscorer Adam Marriott already having 10 goals in 28 games this season for Bromley.

However, we have decided to go with the one that I think most teams that come against Bromley concern themselves with. Michael Cheek! With 13 goals in 27 games already this season, Cheek is a veteran striker who’s movement in and around the 18 yard box is one of the best in non-League football. In fact since signing for the Ravens, Cheek has played an impressive 212 games and scored 94 goals with one of those being the vital winner in this competition in 2022 to hand Bromley the FA Trophy over Wrexham.

Famous Face

Where do we start with this one!? Countless EFL players have come through the ranks at Bromley such as Lincoln City winger Reeco Hackett, Charlton striker Alfie May and even have a little Premier League pedigree with Sheffield United (and former Swindon Town) stopper, Wes Foderingham. Mitchel Bergkamp currently playing for the Ravens is the son of a rather famous former Premier League legend, Dennis Bergkamp who’s career for Arsenal and the Netherlands is littered with magic and goals.

For the avid scrollers of Netflix you might have taken in a film called ‘The Bromley Boys’ following the Hayes Lane club as they lingered at the less than glamorous end of the football pyramid. Living through the eyes of supporter Dave Roberts, he idolised players like Jeff King, Herbie Lane and star striker, Alan Stonebridge and struck up a friendship with supporters TJ Herbert, Mark Diamond and Ewan McKintosh. The story tells of these supporters and their quest alongside chairman Charlie McQueen to save Bromley from relegation and going out of business in the feel good story based on a true story. In fact, the fans Dave Roberts and Co can still be found on the terraces of Hayes Lane cheering on the Ravens!

Bluebirds News

With vital minutes getting into players on Tuesday against Westbury, the squad is looking in great shape ahead of this one with players involved in the game doing well, players training at the start looking sharp and all in all, the Bluebirds are looking good ahead of this massive cup tie. If they are to do the improbable, they are going to have to do so without Ed Williams who is cup tied. With Bradbury, Johnson and TOE all involved Tuesday, it holds one of them in good stead to step in. With no other injury news to report, Gary Horgan is going to have his best squad at his disposal (bar Ed) to spring the cupset and see Chippenham into the 5th Round and one step closer to Wembley Stadium.

So here we go! Cup games can often be the catalyst for change in a lot of ways and with attendances over Christmas reaching a fantastic level, it is amazing to report a full coachload of supporters booked in for Bromley. With 60 odd travelling via the coach, some making their way in the car and on trains, we are hoping to take around 100 spectators to Hayes Lane which may not seem like a lot on the surface but it is fantastic progression for this club and I commend each and every one of you making the time in your day and the dent in your bank account to come and support the lads and I know they appreciate it so much! So let’s get to Hayes Lane, get behind the Bluebirds and show the footballing world that the underdogs have got one hell of a bite!


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